Shifting expectations

Today is May 14th and that means it’s exactly one month to my next half marathon. How did that come around so fast? J is running the full marathon (and training like a beast) so I figured I would get up at crazy o’clock and travel down to Provo with him. Run my race and meet him afterwards to celebrate our new PRs. Perfect!

Well, if you’ve read my last few posts you’ll realize that this is probably not going to happen. It’s now been 10 days since my last run. And two whole days since I did any sort of cardio. Not ideal race preparation.

For my first two half marathons I was totally prepared. I got a full 12-week training plan in and was ready to go for it at the start line. This time – not so much. I’m pretty confident that if my foot is pain-free (and it is feeling SO much better) then I’ll be able to finish. But it won’t be fast. And I won’t PR. This bummed me out for a while. This had been my goal race for the year. The race I would smash my PR (it has a reputation for being a fast course), and gain a ton of confidence for starting full marathon training.

Then I decided to be positive. First of all, J and I took a road trip to check out the marathon course (J had heard rumors of unexpected hills). And guess what – it is a really pretty course. I decided that I was going to enjoy this race. For my first two half marathons I went all out and struggled in the last couple of miles. I raced them and it hurt a little. This time I want to experience the race. And maybe take a decent race photo!

This is probably obvious to a lot of you but as soon as I start I race I want to give my all. Go big or go home. So for me this is a new way of approaching a race. Plus I need to look after J (who I think will smash his PR). So the plan is to ease back in to running next week (with a plan B of ditching the race completely if things go badly) and not to put pressure on myself. New mantra. Enjoy this race! Enjoy this race!

Surprisingly, I’ve been coping with my two exercise-free days pretty well. I think taking this break is exactly what my body needed – sorry for not listening to you earlier). An extra hour in bed and of course more time to cook.

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Chocolate chip zucchini bread.

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This is my favorite chocolate from TJ – and it weighs 500g.

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Quinoa, mango and veggie salad – it’s been my lunch all week with some slices of avocado on top.

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Fishcakes! And we used up the rest of the smoked salmon to make salmon carbonara. I’ve been on a real fish kick recently.

Any foods that you’ve been loving lately?

Do you always race your races? Any advice for “enjoying” a race?

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25 thoughts on “Shifting expectations

  1. I don’t actually always race my races! i have a hard time trusting in half marathons that I can run faster than I trained so I usually go out somewhere in between my supposed “race pace” and long run pace. For some reason, marathon pace is less difficult for me to wrap my head around but half marathon pace just sounds crazy since I’ve usually done no more than 6 at that pace. It’s actually my goal to really figure out race pace because I’ve tempo’d all my half races. It’s actually a really nice way to race stress-free though if I were to just look at the positives…you aren’t in the same kind of pain and you can just enjoy yourself but you’re still running at a reasonable effort, it’s not just long run pace so it feels like any old run.

      • Yes! For example, if “race pace” is 7:15/mi and long runs are 8:30/mi, start at 8:00/mi and hang out, it shouldn’t feel too awful. Then you can turn it into a progression run and up the pace by a few seconds each mile in the second half or starting at mile 9 or whenever. Negative splits and you get a great workout harder than a normal long run 🙂

  2. dawn @ running the dawn says:

    it’s so hard to shift into a different gear especially this close to the race. i’m sorry that you have to adjust, but you are totally taking the right approach.

    for me, the “fun races” are more fun when i can find someone to tag along with. i ran 2 half marathons while i was pregnant and i wanted to make sure that i avoided the temptation to go faster than i should, so i ran with friends that have a slower pace than i do. it worked like a charm! one friend was a “pictures every mile” kind of runner, and the other was a first-timer. both helped me to just sit back and enjoy the run 🙂

    • That sounds like a blast! I don’t know anyone else running but I’m thinking I should bring my phone and document every mile – and make sure that I’m taking it nice and easy.

  3. Last summer I didn’t race my races–it was my first time not doing so–but used them as training runs. So I would try to arrive at the mindset that you are doing them as training runs for your next PR! You’re just building the mileage, and enjoying the experience. Still set a goal for yourself–like negative splits or steady state or whatever–so that you can still feel like you accomplished something, and still do all of your race day prep, but just don’t blow your legs off. And still race the people around you 😀

    • I like this approach. I think I might aim for a negative split. This race coincides with the start of full marathon training so I can treat it as the first long run. Don’t go all out so I can walk up and down stairs the following day.

  4. I love the concept of “enjoying” a race! That’s really good! I’ve always raced to race, but what a fun way to be in the moment and to enjoy your surroundings!

    • Every race I’ve tried to be as fast as possible so it’ll be a big change to just enjoy it. I remember reading a blog post recently where the race director told all the runners to take their time so they could get their money’s worth!

      • Wow, that is an awesome race director!! Such a great point! So true, too- runners spend so much time training and loving life during/after a run (taking in nature, etc.), but when it comes to race day, it’s usually a different story, so I’m liking this concept a lot of actually enjoying the race and taking in everything that it has to offer (the course, the people, etc.)!!! Very cool!! Thanks for this!!

  5. I feel like I’ve never really raced my races before. I was always just doing them to do them, accomplish a goal. This weekend I have a 10k race that I want to get a sub 60 in and am planning on pushing myself the whole 10k to get it (managed a sub 60 training run a few weeks ago).
    I’ve been a big fan of oat cakes lately, soft, chewy oatcakes!

  6. I understand all of this. My half is this Sunday and the reality is that I won’t be running it. Pretty bummed but I am past the sad part and in full focus of healing and prepping for the next one. I am so glad you are feeling better. Being mentally prepared for what lies ahead makes such a difference. Happy healing!

  7. My advice for enjoying the race is to bring a camera of some sort so you can take pics along the way. Also, wear something fun – like a costume or tutu or whatever. That’s what I did in the first three races of Dopey to make sure I didn’t push it.

  8. I run a lot of races because I love them so much, so I rarely actually race it. I just really enjoy to camaraderie of running with a large group of people, the uncertainty of a course, and the thrill of the race, regardless of how much effort I put into it.

  9. Sometimes I go out just to enjoy races instead of full-on racing, and it can be a nice breath of fresh air. Much easier to enjoy a race when it’s stress-free. I tell myself it’s a long tempo run but more exciting!

    • This will be my third half so it’s time to try something new. I’m going to treat it as a tempo or maybe progression run. I’m kinda looking forward to it as long as my legs start cooperating.

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